Now that a month has passed and fall has faded away giving rise to winter, it is time to update all of you on the work that I have been doing. For those of you who I have heard from already, either through a phone call, through a delicious meal or coffee at a local establishment, or through the screen on a video call, thank you.

These early months of my time here in town are meant to be spent hearing from the people who live here and nearby, and although I have heard many recurring themes from those conversations, what never fails to stand out the most is the deep care for their community that people have. This column is another avenue to hear from the community, and I would love to hear from the community about some of the projects I have an interest in starting.

The first project is a “Take & Make” program. Although not yet set in stone, this project would entail community members coming to pick up a kit filled with supplies, taking it home with them, and then making the craft inside. The current plan for this project is to have two crafts and writing prompts per kit monthly, one for kids and one for adults. It would be free to participate in and first-come, first-served. I would like to hear from the community about what kind of craft projects they or their kids would be interested in doing.

The second project involves public art. Many of the puzzle murals up and around the town are in need of maintenance, and as an existing asset and part of the community, I would like to hear from the residents about which murals they would most like to see restored and if there are sections of town or areas that could benefit from public art.

Although there are other possible projects that I am trying to pursue, these two are those which I would like to hear the most from the community on. If you have any questions or any ideas for creative projects that you would like someone to work with you on, please feel free to contact me at

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If you have any creative activities that you do—from quilting, canning, painting, woodworking, crafting, music, and more—it would be greatly appreciated if you could fill out the survey at By doing so you are informing the Wadena Development Authority, the Five Wings Arts Council and the Economic Alliance how best to support our creative community members.

Lastly, I want to highlight a free online event that will be held on Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Five Wings Arts Council, the Economic Alliance and Springboard for the Arts are teaming up to offer an e‐commerce panel for rural artists and makers. To register, visit‐panel‐for‐rural‐artists‐makers/.

Lillian Norman is a fellow with Lead for Minnesota serving the city of Wadena on artisan economic development.